Cocoa Association of Asia prepares for revised global conference

The Cocoa Association of Asia (CAA) International Cocoa Conference & Dinner is fast gearing-up for its revised dates this autumn, reports Neill Barston.

It is set to take place between 1-2 September, at the Raffles City Convention Centre (RCCC) in Singapore after an almost 2-year delay due to Covid-19.

Ticket sales have also restarted with options to attend the full conference with both evening dinners or conference and day  networking.
“The Association has committed to hosting the long-awaited CAA International Cocoa Conference & Dinner as the first major in-person event on the international cocoa calendar after a painful 2-year delay.

The conference theme has also been appropriately set as “Resilience – Writing the Next Chapter of Asian Cocoa” where we will welcome experts from the region and across the world provide invaluable insights into crucial subjects that will shape our industry in the days to come” said Alvin Lee, CAA Chairman, who was recently interviewed by Confectionery Production, in our exclusive video discussion of the Asian market.

As the CAA explained, there will be 5 main plenary sessions over the 2 days with the inclusion of a new plenary focussing on
Women in Cocoa and Chocolate industry. USAID Green Invest Asia will be hosting a panel on climate-friendly cocoa as part of the Cocoa Association of Asia’s International Conference’s Networking dinner on  1 September.

Among the organisations reconfirm their support for the conference as Barry Callebaut has also confirmed its position as the Official Chocolate Partner apart from its Platinum Sponsorship, OFI also committed as the Official Sustainability Partner and Gold sponsor. USAID Green Invest Asia came on board as the conference Official Industry Development Partner.

Main Plenary 1 – Macroeconomic Outlook for Asia and the World
Asia continues to be projected as the fastest growing region in an increasingly volatile global macroenvironment. In this session, we will debate what the near and longer-term economic outlooks hold for us in the cocoa and chocolate space. Will China continue to tease with its demographic potential for growth in consumption or will India usurp its great rival? Where else in the region should the industry look to place its bets.

Speaker: Mr Karmjit Singh, The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Singapore. Moderated by: Chris de Lavigne, Partner, Financial Advisory Corporate Strategy/M&A, Deloitte (SEA) Panel: Alvin Lee, Chairman, Cocoa Association of Asia, Prof. Annie KOH, Professor Emeritus of Finance (Practice), Singapore Management University Joachim Essig, Head of Sales, Cocoa Processing Equipment, Bühler Group, Paul Wynne, CFO, Henry Bath & Son Limited Cocoa Association of Asia

Main Plenary 2 – Cocoa Fundamentals Outlook for Asia: Supply and Demand
The outlook of global cocoa production in 2022/23 marketing year remains uncertain as high global farm inputs prices and global logistics disruptions could still hamper cocoa tree’s productivity in major cocoa producing countries. Meanwhile, combination of global geopolitical tensions and lingering covid19 pandemic, which are likely to reduce global economic growth in 2022, could still dampen global chocolate consumption growth in 2022.

Oscar Tjakra, Executive Director of Rabobank, will discuss what the future holds for cocoa production and consumption in Asia. Where are the future bright spots for growth and the dark clouds? Speaker: Mr Oscar Tjakra, Executive Director, Rabobank Moderated by: Antoine Delsart, Deputy Director Cocoa Beans Trading, Touton SA Panel: Darren Stetzel, Vice President – Softs & Ags, Asia, StoneX Financial Pte. Ltd. Frederic Wenger, Head of Research, OFI (Olam) Michel Arrion, Executive Director, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) Max Goettler, Head of Trading, JB Cocoa


Main Plenary 3 – Marketing and Innovation Trends for Asian Cocoa and Chocolate
The COVID-19 pandemic changed consumer priorities, leading to an increased demand for healthy, immunity-boosting, and ecologically sound food and beverage products. Asians of all demographic profiles have shifted their cooking habits, taste preferences and shopping behaviors, resulting in new sales channels forming and crossing. As the pandemic is starting to recede, which of these new consumer interests will remain in the long term? And how do these market trends impact cocoa and chocolate in Asia? Speaker: Nicole Jansen, Innova Market Insights Moderated by: Dr Nazlin Imram, Vice President Beverage and Sweet Goods Business Units, Firmenich
Panel: Alister Haigh, CEO, Haigh’s Chocolates Francesca Kleemans, Managing Director, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate APAC
Racheal Toh, Head of Marketing (APAC), Barry Callebaut Group Tobias Garritt, Co-Founder & CEO Junglegold Bali

Main Plenary 4 – Sustainability and Social Responsibility in Asian Cocoa
Sustainability is an increasingly hot topic in cocoa, both for risk mitigation and for driving brand value. During this segment, we’ll explore what consumers care the most about in various regional markets and the local impact of global “hot topics” like child labour and deforestation. We’ll also focus on the state of livelihoods for Asian cocoa farmers – what’s improved, what hasn’t changed at all, and how we can ensure the riches pass down to those who need it most.
Speaker: Fay Fay Choo, Director, Mars. Moderated by: Pranav Sethaputra, Lead, Partnerships & Communications at Grow Asia, Grow Asia Panel: Cocoa Association of Asia, Gricha Safarian, Puratos Grand-Place Indochina

Main Plenary 5 – Women in Cocoa and Chocolate Asia
The critical role of women in advancing agricultural and rural development, and in ensuring food security, has been widely acknowledged. Achieving sustainable cocoa development, then, is not only the empowerment of women for the advancement of agriculture and rural life; it is the full engagement of women with men in the construction of a new social order – at the level of family, community, and institutions.

The event also includes a networking dinner session addressing Climate-friendly Cocoa? What can the Industry do
Global climate action needs to accelerate rapidly over the next decade to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and transform economies to a low carbon pathway.  For more details, visit:


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